To smoke pipes is not a vice, it is art and a way of life!

Randy Wiley, a skillful master from the U.S.A.

Wiley #9
Wiley freehand with a beautiful spiral motif

The postman brought a gift from a friend in the States in mid October, 1999 this
freehand, made in 1995, but in an excellent condition. It is made by Randy Wiley
who is an admired and well-known artisan in the U.S.A. My firend has received this
pipe as a gift from a friend of his, who is not a pipe smoker himself. So it is not
a big wonder he did not know that every pipester has his/her own preferences. Luckily
from my point of view freehands are not among the favourites of my American friend.
He wrote that he had smoked this pipe only a couple of times in the presence of the
donator and that he wants to think this excellent pipe is in regular rotation than
lying unused and forgotten in the rack or worse still in a dark corner of some drawer.

Wiley from right
The spiral continues seamlessly from shank to the stem

The fact that even the stem of this pipe is made by hand is clearly seen in
the spiral, which continues seamlessly from shank to the stem.
In the shank is stamped the name of Wiley, both in slanted capitals and in
handwriting ("R.Wiley"). Furthermore there is "1995" and number "9". My friend
told me that Wiley stamped his pipes all the way to "12", after which begins his
"Ovation" series, priced almost astronomically.

A detail, carved leaf
Leaf motif carved in
the outer bottom of
bowl

Wiley's artistic attitude toward his work is clearly seen in the photo above.
He has carved a beautiful tobacco leaf at the tip of bowl. Of course one could
think it is a nice way to hide a sandpit, but my friend wrote Wiley has adopted
this motif in many of his pipes.

plateau-top
Plateau top

The first puffs 24.11.1999:

I filled half of the tobacco chamber with Gawith and Hoggart's "Rich Brown", which
I got from a friend in Scotland (Thanks, Terry!). It is a very tasty Va flake, and
I enjoyed it from the bottom of my heart! Mellow puffs, which brought the aromas
of this fine blend full and tasty to become enjoyed. Part of the full taste must lie
in the fact that my friend is smoking Va blends, which he had used to break this
pipe in. Only the last puffs were a little harsh, most certainly because of the still
lacking heel cake.

This is a fine pipe and a beautiful present from a friend, whom I have never met,
but whom I regard as close, due to frequent e-mail correspondence.

Willmer "Extra Grain"

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Created Dec.9,1999